Informing the trial patients andor their families

The importance of the patients who volunteered to take part in a clinical trial should not be forgotten once the trial is over. It may well be appropriate to provide the patients and/or their relatives with a summary of the results of the trial, and where this is done it should be available as soon as the results are published. However, the potential impact of the results on the patients must be borne in mind, particularly in relation to the treatment the individual patient actually received. It will often be most appropriate to provide the clinicians who took part in the trial with a supply of the summaries, and for them to determine the best way to approach patients, rather than to contact patients directly. To prepare for some of the questions that a trial participant may have, it can be extremely useful to hold a meeting to discuss the trial results with relevant consumer groups before the results are published, and to involve them when producing a summary for patients. For further discussion of this issue, see Chapter 2.

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